Monthly Archives: November 2013

TOP TEN: An Innocent List

He's got a way about him.

He’s got a way about him.

He’s playing the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on New Year’s Eve and he already has three dates planned at Madison Square Garden early in 2014. With that and he being the subject of a tribute episode of Glee airing tonight, we still can’t get enough of the legendary Billy Joel. From Piano Man to River Of Dreams, the classics are all there, and even in his earlier and lesser known works still find a big audience even today. This was the hardest Top Ten list to compile so far; there’s way too many songs to enjoy from his decades of recorded music. So, I limited it to singles, specifically those that charted on the Hot 100. It didn’t help as much as I wanted it to, but, the list got done. Here they are, my ten favorites, all ranked in order:

10. “SHE’S ALWAYS A WOMAN” [from The Stranger]
Year: 1978 / Peak: #17

It was the last release from his Diamond-certified album, and though its run was abbreviated due to the release of “My Life”, it’s still a very pretty ballad. I also liked a cover by Fyfe Dangerfield, a top ten U.K. hit in 2010.

09. “UPTOWN GIRL” [from An Innocent Man]
Year: 1983 / Peak: #3

From his 1983 concept album, probably my favorite from him, this song is an ode to the Four Seasons and written about his then-girlfriend and now ex-wife, model Christie Brinkley. It’s still one of his most played hits to date.

08. “GOODNIGHT SAIGON” [from The Nylon Curtain]
Year: 1983 / Peak: #56

This was the only single from Joel’s 1982 album to not go top 40, but it’s certainly the most poignant of them. The ballad written about the Vietnam War touched a lot of veterans and climbed to #1 in several European countries.

07. “THE ENTERTAINER” [from Streetlife Serenade]
Year: 1975 / Peak: #34

One of the more biting songs about the woes of the music industry, this somehow made it as a single, although it cracked the top 40 for just a few weeks. Sometimes songs with a heavy message like this just “don’t stay on the charts.”

06. “MY LIFE” [from 52nd Street]
Year: 1978 / Peak: #3

Produced by the late Phil Ramone, “Life” is Joel’s anthem about independence. It was one of his first big songs to reach the top ten following “Just The Way You Are” in 1978 and solidified his place on the charts for years to come.

05. “I GO TO EXTREMES” [from Storm Front]
Year: 1990 / Peak: #6

Saying sorry for his crazy lifestyle never sounded so good. Joel’s followup to “We Didn’t Start A Fire” was another hit from his 1989 effort and was received well by the critics during the album’s initial release. Apologies accepted.

04. “TELL HER ABOUT IT” [from An Innocent Man]
Year: 1983 / Peak: #1

Here’s another classic song with a classic sound as well. His ode to the Motown era featured a memorable video in which Joel appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, which got a lot of airtime on MTV. The results? A number one hit.

03. “HONESTY” [from 52nd Street]
Year: 1979 / Peak: #24

This tender ballad is a lovely one and receives some attention today on Classic Hits stations. After “Big Shot” failed to go top ten in early 1979, this also missed, though it became a moderate radio record despite its weaker sales.

02. “THE RIVER OF DREAMS” [from River Of Dreams]
Year: 1993 / Peak: #3

This is the first song I can remember hearing from Mr. Joel; my father had the album on cassette in the car for some time. The poppy track was his last big hit around the world, going top five in Australia, Canada and in the States.

01. “SAY GOODBYE TO HOLLYWOOD (LIVE)” [from Songs In The Attic]
Year: 1981 / Peak: #17

It may not be the most popular or the most remembered song of his career, but it’s my absolute favorite from Joel, a song written about his move back to New York City in 1975. The original version was on 1975’s Turnstiles; the hit version ended up on this compilation of live tracks from a summer tour for his previous album, Glass Houses, in 1980. I first heard it on an older radio show and fell in love with it immediately. Now, it’s time to “say goodbye to” this countdown.

For more Billy Joel and those songs up in the attic, down in the basement and pumping on your stereo, follow the blog below or hit the “Get Social!” tab to find out how you can connect with PGTC on social media.

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ALBUM REVIEW: One Direction – Midnight Memories

Read up on this "Story".

Set adrift on Memory hits.

“I don’t know how else to sum it up/’Cause words ain’t good enough,” sing the members of One Direction on closer “Better Than Words”, the perfect way to describe their fandom. From sold out concerts to social media, the Directioners go all out to support their boys. So, here it is that the guys are delivering their third album, Midnight Memories, due to be released on November 25. Like their previous two albums, this packs some major pop goodies, but also delivers when it comes to their growth both lyrically and musically. 11 of the 14 tracks on this effort have at least one member co-writing, which is a major jump from 2012’s Take Me Home, and with new producers on hand like Ryan Bunetta and even Jacknife Lee, the results are effortless and the right Direction for the five lads to take their sound.

From start to finish, this is a really solid album, beginning with the two singles: the light and fun “Best Song Ever” and the more serious and folk-driven “Story Of My Life”, their current hit. “Story”, particularly, seems to be doing a good job of converting those unsure of the band’s future into believers again, with a great lyric (led by Jamie Scott of Graffiti6 at the helm) and a pretty arrangement. From there is the electro-pop influenced “Diana”, in which the boys go after a pretty Miss who seems to have trouble in love (“I never would mistreat you/I’m not a criminal”) and needs someone by her side. Then, it’s back to the partying with the anthemic title track, a melodic ode to Def Leppard‘s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, which rocks out hard and brings the fun. It could possibly be the “Rock Me” of this particular era.

Track five, the softer ballad “You And I”, shines with a lyric about being so faithful to your significant other that “not even the Gods above/Could separate the two of us.” Yes, maybe it’s a little cliché, but for the time being, it works. Following that is “Don’t Forget Where You Belong”, which appears to be a fan favorite at the moment, at least from what I’ve read around. It’s another lighter composition, an anthem about hometown pride and not feeling lonely when you’re far from home. The mood picks up from there with the solid “Strong”, which ironically enough reminds me a bit “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson, especially in those small guitar bits. “Happily” also, well, happily chugs along, with a folk-influenced pop sound and an explosive chorus that ranks among my favorites on the album.

One of the missteps on this album is “Right Now”, a Ryan Tedder co-write, which sounds like a sloppy leftover from Maroon 5‘s Overexposed. It doesn’t sound out-of-place, but it’s not great. The tide immediately turns with “Little Black Dress”, a guitar-infested little number which brings the heat in these boys and their object of desire with calls of “I wanna see the way you move for me.” Highlight “Through The Dark”, track 11, goes back to the folk but does it well, probably the best out of those genre tracks on here. This, again, finds itself a safe lyrical place about being there for someone: “When the night is coming down on you/We will find a way/Through the dark.” The next song over, “Something Great”, another folk track co-written by Gary Lightbody of the band Snow Patrol, pales in comparison to it.

Ending it off are “Little White Lies”, a catchy pop song that verges into dubstep territory for an edgier feeling and the aforementioned “Better Than Words”, another pop-oriented track that hits all the right notes. Out of the four bonus songs on the deluxe edition, the best by far is “Why Don’t We Go There?”, an energetic pop/rock thumper with a suggestive lyric that also keeps it on the clean side. This should’ve been on the standard set, replacing one the slower songs. “Does He Know?” is a nod to early 80’s Rick Springfield, while “Alive” also sticks out as another track straight out of the hair metal era. It’s not as natural as some of the other stadium rockers on the standard edition, but still manages to go hard. “Half A Heart”, the final track here, is one of the weaker ballads of the bunch; it was rightly demoted.

Should there have been a few more uptempo records rather than a few of the clunkier songs on the album and Midnight Memories would’ve been my favorite album from the band; alas, I think Up All Night still does it for me best, but this can take second place on the list. The major 80’s influence is a big draw on this one; as carbon copy as some of these songs may be, you can’t help but like them and dance along. I don’t know if that necessarily gives them a free pass with the rest of the world, but hey, let’s celebrate this achievement for the moment. Look for #1 placement around the globe during the next few weeks as this one is going to be a winner with the kids for the holidays. Get the wrapping paper and bows ready. In short, One Direction is here to stay and those good Memories will keep on coming in 2014.

Listen to Midnight Memories on SoundCloud/Tumblr. (It’s all over there.) / Pre-order Midnight Memories on iTunes.


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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (November 19)

They're crawling back to us.

“Waiting For” their next #1 album.

In a week full of super releases by musical superheroes, there can only be one that tops the Billboard 200 album chart. Here are the high-flying and hot new releases for November 19:

  • Led by the Hot AC hit “Waiting For Superman”, pop/rockers Daughtry are storming into stores with their fourth studio album, Baptized. The band’s had two #1 albums and a third go top ten; how will this fare? I think we’ll be seeing them well within this region again this time around. (iTunes)
  • The soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, out this Friday, is in stores today. It features two singles currently ranking on the radio charts: “Atlas” by Coldplay and “We Remain” by Christina Aguilera. (iTunes)
  • American Idol winner Phillip Phillips is rereleasing his album, The World From The Side Of The Moon (iTunes), with a new three-track Live EP (iTunes), featuring in-concert versions of songs like “Gone Gone Gone” and current single “Where We Came From”.
  • They’re “Battle Born” and ready to fight with the release of The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell, Volume 2. Five Finger Death Punch (what a name) are rocking out and up for sale this week. (iTunes)
  • Rapper Yo Gotti just missed the top ten with his last album, Live From The Kitchen. His latest is I Am, featuring current single with T.I., “King Sh-t”. (iTunes).
  • Recorded back in April at Madison Square Garden, Eric Clapton and friends like Jeff Beck and John Mayer collaborate on Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013. (iTunes)
  • Other albums out this week include Delta Rae‘s Chasing Twisters (EP) (iTunes), Jake Bugg‘s Shangri La (iTunes), Matthew Morrison‘s A Classic Christmas (EP) (iTunes) and Nickelback‘s The Best Of Nickelback, Volume 1 (iTunes).

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Diana”, a digital single from boy band One Direction. (iTunes)
  • “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, a rendition of the holiday classic from Babyface and Toni Braxton. (iTunes)
  • “Hold On”, a new single from singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat. (iTunes)
  • “Human”, the first single from Christina Perri‘s forthcoming second album. (iTunes)
  • “Last Christmas”, the first track released from Ariana Grande‘s new Christmas themed EP. (iTunes)
  • “PYD”, the latest Music Mondays release from Justin Bieber and special guest R. Kelly. (iTunes)

One Direction are taking over next week with their third album, Midnight Memories. How high will it go? A preview is coming in seven!

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SINGLE REVIEW: Colbie Caillat – “Hold On” (+ Lyrics)

Holdin' on to the charts.

Holdin’ on to the charts.

Ready for the latest hit from Colbie Caillat? “Hold On” is the leadoff single from Caillat’s forthcoming fifth studio album with Republic Records, due early next year. This is not to be confused with a “Hold On” that appears on the singer’s 2010 iTunes Session EP; these are totally different compositions.

The California singer-songwriter has opted to change her sound a bit on this single. This isn’t your typical pop/rock, guitar-driven soft rock anthem. Produced by OneRepublic‘s Ryan Tedder, his band’s sound has essentially rubbed off on this recording mixed with a touch of Florence + The Machine, especially in an explosive chorus with layered background vocals, an organ and drums. The lyric, unfortunately, suffers on this one from a reliance on repetitive phrases, as you can read below. Yes, it’s a bit stale and tired sounding from that standpoint, but the shift is pretty natural for Caillat, and with major crossover potential, this could be the song to return her to the heights of the CHR airwaves as well as her core formats like AC and Hot AC. I do like it; I just wish the approach in the process of creating this song was more focused because it could’ve been so much more epic and career-defining rather than a scribbled note in the margin of Tedder’s discography. Oh well.

Look for a major battle between this and Christina Perri‘s new single, “Human”, in a battle for airtime as both are serviced this week. Who will come out on top? We’ll find out in 2014.

Listen to “Hold On”. / Purchase “Hold On” on iTunes. [11PM on Monday, November 18]

“HOLD ON” (3:35)

[Verse 1]
I’m feeling further, feeling further from you every day
You’re in the stars, in the stars, yeah, you’re worlds away
I’m moving on, moving on, then I hear you say
Hold on, hold on
We’re losing light, losing light, yeah, we’re fading fast
We had a fire, need a spark, or we’ll never last
Just look at me, look at me, I’ve been burning for you
So long, so long

I should walk away

[Chorus x2]
(Oh-oh oh-oh)
I look at you and
(Oh-oh oh-oh)
I get the feeling
(Oh-oh oh-oh)
I think that I should hold on, hold on

[Verse 2]
I’m losing love, losing you, losing everything
Losing faith in the world where I wanna be
So I don’t care if the one thing that’s killing me
Is so wrong, so wrong

I should walk away

[Chorus x2]
(Oh-oh oh-oh)
I look at you and
(Oh-oh oh-oh)
I get the feeling
(Oh-oh oh-oh)
I think that I should hold on, hold on

[Middle 8]
Oh oh oh (x2)
And I can’t stop this feeling (x2)

[Chorus x2]
(Oh-oh oh-oh)
I look at you and
(Oh-oh oh-oh)
I get the feeling
(Oh-oh oh-oh)
I think that I should hold on, hold on


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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: November 17, 2013

"Best" chart on the web, would you agree?

“Best” chart on the web, would you agree?

40. Smallpools – Over & Over
39. Taylor Henderson – Borrow My Heart
38. Erik Hassle – Talk About It | HIGHEST DEBUT

35. Kelly Clarkson – Underneath The Tree (40)
31. HAIM – The Wire (36)
30. Gary Barlow – Let Me Go (37) | BIGGEST MOVER
21. Bastille – Of The Night (26)

10. Imagine Dragons – On Top Of The World (06) | PEAK: #04
09. Passenger – Holes (07) | PEAK: #01 for five weeks
08. Keane – Higher Than The Sun (10) | PEAK: #08
07. Emeli Sandé – My Kind Of Love (08) | PEAK: #07
06. Coldplay – Atlas (04) | PEAK: #01 for three weeks
05. The 1975 – Girls (09) | PEAK: #05
04. Sheppard – Hold My Tongue (01) | PEAK: #01 for two weeks
03. Passenger – The Wrong Direction (05) | PEAK: #03
02. New Politics – Harlem (03) | PEAK: #02
01. American Authors – Best Day Of My Life (02) | PEAK: #01 for one week | NEW #1

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Basic Vacation – I Believe (2)
2. Colbie Caillat – Hold On (9)
3. Lily Allen – Hard Out Here (-)
4. Gavin DeGraw – Make A Move (6)
5. Hedley – Anything (10)
6. Cher – I Hope You Find It (8)
7. John Newman – Losing Sleep (-)
8. Kodaline – Love Like This (-)
9. Sam York – The Script (-)
10. Christina Perri – Human (-)

In The Mix:
Andrew Ripp – Falling For The Beat
Avril Lavigne featuring Chad Kroeger – Let Me Go
Backstreet Boys – Show ‘Em (What You’re Made Of)
Britney Spears – Perfume
Cub Sport – Paradise
Dominique Pruitt – To Win Your Love (new)
Emblem3 – 3,000 Miles
Honor By August – Already Yours
Keane – Won’t Be Broken
Michael Bublé – You Make Me Feel So Young
Pink – Are We All We Are?
The Griswolds – Heart Of A Lion
twenty one pilots – House Of Gold
tyDi featuring Carmen Keigans – Live This Lie (new)
Tyson Ritter – Air
Vance Joy – Riptide
Young The Giant – It’s About Time

Chart Notes:

  • Displacing Sheppard at #1 after two weeks at the top is the quartet originally from Boston, now based in Brooklyn. American Authors are having a pretty great day with “Best Day Of My Life”, up 2-1, becoming the band’s first number one single on my survey. They’re currently on tour with Misterwives and The Royal Concept as they play up the East Coast this week.
  • Taking a leap from 37-30 is the Biggest Mover on the countdown, “Let Me Go” by Take That vocalist and X Factor U.K. judge Gary Barlow. Last time around, the quintet got as high as #18 in the fall of 2011 with “When We Were Young”. His first solo album in 14 years, Since I Saw You Last, is out next week.
  • This week’s Highest Debut is in at #38 by an act who I wasn’t sure would ever make my chart again. Back in 2010, “Hurtful” by a then 21-year-old Erik Hassle went as high as #8 and then he fell off my radar… until a few weeks ago. The now 25-year-old’s second single to make my top 40, “Talk About It”, was recently issued digitally on his new U.S. home, RCA Records.
  • 20-year-old Taylor Henderson becomes the first ever X Factor Australia act to rank in my top 40; his debut single, “Borrow My Heart”, debuts at #39. His self-titled album, featuring “Borrow” and ten cover songs as performed on the show, is released in Australia on November 29.
  • Finally, this week’s #40 debut belongs to newcomers Smallpools with “Over & Over”. Based in New Jersey, they made a minor dent on the Alternative chart earlier this year with “Dreaming”. This followup to it goes to radio in January.

See my full chart on the M4BCC message board.

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ADAM’S TOP 40 FLASHBACK: November 20, 2005

"Beautiful" boys.

“Beautiful” boys.

Welcome back for another edition of Adam’s Top 40 Flashback! Every Saturday, the day before my new top 40 goes up for the week, I’ll be featuring a past countdown straight from chart files of Adam’s Top 40. They’re all here — the hit songs, the songs that flopped, and the songs that may be a little embarrassing to reflect on. This week, we settle into my sophomore year of high school. It wasn’t really my favorite year, but the music of that era got me through it. Here’s a look at my top 40 from November 20, 2005:

40. SHAKIRA, “Don’t Bother”
38. KT TUNSTALL, “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree”

Biggest Mover(s):
LINDSAY LOHAN, “Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Daughter To Father)” (25-16) (9 spots)

10. DANIEL POWTER, “Bad Day”
Long before it was featured on American Idol and became a smash in the United States, Powter’s song was a hit the year prior in countries like the United Kingdom and his native Canada. At the time, it was coming off a six-week run at #1 on my chart, but as soon as a U.S. release was announced, it would launch back up my top 40 for an additional ten weeks at the top in 2006. Not “Bad” at all.

09. HOWIE DAY, “She Says”
After the ballad “Collide” spent three weeks at #1 earlier that year, Day’s label, Epic, reissued this initial second single from Stop All The World Now in a newly recorded version. Though it didn’t do nearly as well on the radio charts, it spent a week at #4 on my survey. The singer born in Brewer, ME would chart once more in 2009 with “Be There”. He’s currently on a small tour around New England.

08. MICHAEL BUBLÉ, “Save The Last Dance For Me”
This Canadian crooner was on his way to big success. His debut era was full of remakes, including “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?” by the Bee Gees and “Kissing A Fool” by George Michael, but this was his first to break into my top ten. The song first done by The Drifters holds the record for most weeks spent at #3 — nine consecutive frames. Luckily, he’s gone onto four #1 singles here.

07. MADONNA, “Hung Up”
Time goes by so slowly… although this song came and went in the U.S. for the “Material Girl” after a disappointing American Life era two years prior. Sampling the 1979 ABBA track, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”, “Hung” spent a week at #1 on my top 40, followed by “Sorry”, which peaked at #3 a few months later. Parent album Confessions On A Dance Floor went Platinum.

06. SANTANA featuring MICHELLE BRANCH and THE WRECKERS, “I’m Feelin’ You”
Lightning doesn’t strike twice, though it was close enough. After collaborating on “The Game Of Love”, a #1 on my chart in late 2002, “I’m” peaked at #3. This was both Branch and Santana‘s last top ten single on my chart; she would go top 20 solo in the fall of 2011 with “Loud Music”, the same year the band peaked with a top 20 cover of Def Leppard‘s “Photograph” with Chris Daughtry.

05. JAMIE CULLUM, “Get Your Way”
The jazz man from Rochford, England kept it classy and cool on his Twentysomething album, released here in 2004, but it was his followup, Catching Tales, that swung him in a soulful direction. Cullum’s song would peak at #4 during a 20 week run, by far his most successful single to rank on my chart. He entered the top 40 earlier this year with the minor entry, “Everything You Didn’t Do”.

It was used as the theme song to The Hills and it was all over the airwaves back in 2005 and 2006. “Unwritten” spent ten big weeks at #1, the second-longest run at the top by a female performer in my chart’s history. Bedingfield last hit the top ten late in 2012 on a duet with Lifehouse, “Between The Raindrops”, which went as high as #7. A new album may be forthcoming from her in the new year.

03. DARREN HAYES, “So Beautiful”
Formerly with the duo Savage Garden, who went to #1 on my chart in 1999 with “I Knew I Loved You”, this was featured on the act’s best of compilation titled Truly Madly Completely. “Beautiful” is Hayes’s last of five singles to reach the top of my chart (thus far), a six-week #1, making him the most successful Australian performer in my records. He’s been in the top 40 as recently as last year.

02. JAMES BLUNT, “You’re Beautiful”
After serving six years in the British Army from 1996-2002, Blunt pursued a career in music, releasing Back To Bedlam in the fall of 2004 in the United Kingdom.  As the third single, it became a smash, reigniting the era with a run of five weeks at #1 in that territory. On my chart, it would spend eight non-consecutive weeks at #1 beginning the next week. He recently charted with “Bonfire Heart”.

01. KELLY CLARKSON, “Because Of You”
It’s the biggest of the big ballads on the chart, and what a phenomenal song it is. The Breakaway era was an astounding one for Clarkson, as she racked up a 6x Platinum certification and six top 40 singles on my chart before it was all over. Two went to #1, one being “Because”, which was in its third and final week at the top, and “Behind These Hazel Eyes”, which managed four weeks. She recently released an all-Christmas album, Wrapped In Red, and last week, single “Underneath The Tree” debuted at #40. See where it lands on this week’s chart tomorrow.

Check back next Saturday for another Adam’s Top 40 Flashback and don’t forget to follow the blog by using the tab below or find PGTC on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab at the top of the page.

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Christina Perri – “Human” (+ Lyrics)

You're only "Human". (Don't forget that second wind!)

You’re only “Human”. (Don’t forget that second wind!)

She’s the singer behind hits like “A Thousand Years” and “Jar Of Hearts”; now, Christina Perri is back with a brand new single called “Human”. She’s been hard at work on her second full-length album, including some studio time with Jamie Scott of Graffiti6 and other writers. Though the album doesn’t have a title yet, it will be out in early 2014. This first single from it goes to radio and iTunes on Monday.

Listen to “Human” by Christina Perri. / Download “Human” on iTunes.


(Verse 1)
I can hold my breath
I can bite my tongue
I can stay awake for days
If that’s what you want
Be your number one
I can fake a smile
I can force a laugh
I can dance and play the part
If that’s what you ask
Give you all I am

I can do it (x3)

But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
I’m only human, yeah

(Verse 2)
I can turn it on
Be a good machine
I can hold the weight of worlds
If that’s what you need
Be your everything

I can do it (x2)
I’ll get through it

But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
I’m only human, yeah

(Middle 8)
I’m only human (x2)
Just a little human

I can take so much
Until I’ve had enough

‘Cause I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
‘Cause I’m only human, yeah

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Record Store Day, Black Friday 2013: What I’m Looking At

Viva la Vinyl.

Viva la Vinyl.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but if you’re a music fan, it’s time to get insightful about the 2013 edition of Record Store Day’s Black Friday event. You’ll remember the regular Record Store Day back on April 20, and once again, RSD is getting in on the holiday rush with another set of exclusive vinyl pieces ready to be stuffed in your stockings. Just remember to get there early, or you may miss out on what you want! Here are ten acts and their releases that you may be hunting for on Friday, November 29:

ATLAS GENIUS – So Electric! When It Was Now (The Remixes)
Format: 12″ vinyl EP
View artwork

This Australian trio based out of Adelaide has been having a great year on the Alternative survey with top ten hits like “If So” and “Trojans” and remixes of their two big singles thus far, along with some assorted album cuts, are included on this new eight song EP.

CHEAP TRICK – Classic Albums 1977-1979
Format: Five x 12″ vinyl LP box set
View artwork

If you’re a fan of the band’s early sound, you’ll love this. Five of their albums are included in this set, four studio recordings and one live collection: 1977’s Cheap Trick and In Color, 1978’s Heaven Tonight and 1979’s Cheap Trick At Budokan and Dream Police.

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND – Live Trax Vol 2: 9-12-04 Golden Gate Park, San Francisco CA + Live Trax Vol 3: 8-27-00 Meadows Music Theater, Hartford CT
Format: 12″ vinyl LP
View artwork + artwork

From their series of live releases, the latest of which came out earlier this week, come these two albums which were released digitally in late 2004 and early 2005, respectively. Vol. 2 is a five LP set, while Vol. 3 is just four. Both the releases are foil numbered.

DURAN DURAN – No Ordinary EP
Format: 10″ vinyl EP
View artwork

Recorded live at the now-defunct Tower Records in Hollywood in the spring of 1993, this set was only previously available as a cassette given away as a freebie with a purchase of their 1993 single, “Too Much Information”. It includes three of the band’s hits.

LADY GAGA – “Applause” Remixes EP
Format: 12″ vinyl single; picture disc
View artwork

The Lady’s recent single went top 5 on the Billboard 100, though she has since moved onto “Do What U Want”, a collaboration with R. Kelly. The set of eight remixes was released digitally in late September and features DJ White Shadow, Goldhouse and more.

PAUL SIMON – Paul Simon + Still Crazy After All These Years + There Goes Rhymin’ Simon
Format: Three x 12″ vinyl LP
View artwork + artwork + artwork

Every good Jewish boy needs some of Simon’s music in their collection, and his first three solo releases offer up diverse sounds. All three LPs are numbered and digital copies are included. They are Record Store Day exclusive releases through the start of 2014.

TEGAN & SARA – “Guilty As Charged”/”I Run Empty”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

The duo finally had a pop breakthrough this year with the song “Closer”, featured on their album of earlier this year, Heartthrob. This is the first time the tracks have been issued on vinyl; both appeared as bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of their new album.

THE CIVIL WARS – Between The Bars EP
Format: 10″ vinyl EP
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The folk duo released their sophomore album during the summer. This four track covers EP includes Elliott Smith‘s “Between The Bars”, “Billie Jean” by Michael JacksonPortishead‘s “Sour Times” and “Talking In Your Sleep” by The Romantics.

THE SURFARIS – “Wipe Out”/”Surfer Joe”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
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Featuring one of the most remembered drum solos of all-time, “Wipe Out” managed to chart twice on the Hot 100, hitting #2 in the 1963 and then to #16 in 1966. Released on Dot Records, it features the original b-side, “Surfer Joe”, along with a fresh cover sleeve.

U2 – “Ordinary Love”
Format: 10″ vinyl single
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This is the Irish band’s first new material in several years. “Love” was written and recorded specifically for the forthcoming movie Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, and the b-side, “Breathe”, is a new take of an album track from 2009’s No Line On The Horizon.

For a full list of special items, it’s all up on Record Store Day’s website. Are you looking forward to RSD’s Black Friday celebration and is there another release not listed here that you’ve got to have? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter: click the “Get Social!” tab above to find us on there.

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POP! Goes The Interview: Sam York

Put a York in it.

Put a York in it. (Your playlist, that is.)

He’s got no label, no radio airplay and not a single song on iTunes in any territory, but he’s reining in the powers of social media to get him on his way. Not only does British singer-songwriter Sam York have a growing base on Facebook and SoundCloud, but he also has a lot of heart. You can feel it in his voice and in his lyrics. Maybe that’s why I got interested in York’s music, particularly a song called “The Script”, and the next stage directions are calling for his breakthrough in 2014.

A few of the singer’s compositions have been up for a few months, but in the past few weeks, York’s fan page has been appearing on my recommended pages list via my news feed. Normally, I would’ve just passed over a post like that; you never really know what you’re getting with those sorts of things. However, there was something promising about his look and that he was a singer-songwriter, and so, off I was to check out his material. Needless to say, I’m a fan of his already. I recently playlisted “The Script” in the In The Mix portion of my weekly top 40. He was gracious enough to give me some of his time to ask a few questions about his roots in music, his new project and his opinion on Irish trio The Script. After all, he does know a few things about scripts. Check it out below:

PGTC: Tell me about growing up musically. Did you come from a musical family? When did you go into music and what acts influenced you?
York: My parents are big music fans, so it was playing constantly: Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Eurythmics, The Police and Miles Davis had a huge impact on me. I think I knew by the age of 6 that I wanted to be a musician. Music is a strange, mysterious disease; if you catch it, it becomes fatally consuming. Everything else fades into the background. I obsessed over Stevie Wonder, Keith Jarrett, Donny Hathaway, D’Angelo, as well as Debussy and Messiaen. I spent the next 10 years playing guitar and piano constantly. I studied music at university and was lucky enough to be taught by some seminal British jazz musicians: Mike Walker and Jason Rebello. Their artistry and accomplishment was inspiring and, although I no longer play much jazz, their examples have been instrumental in informing my work. Now, I’m hugely influenced by the musicians I come across in daily life. There are so many unknown geniuses who are creating the most beautiful music behind the scenes in the music industry.

PGTC: Why was now the right time for this new project?
York: I’ve been writing songs for about 10 years, and for about 9 1/2 of those years every song I have written has been uniformly terrible. Something happened recently and the pieces fell into place. I found I could write the kind of songs that I’ve tried to for years and that I’m happy to play to others. I hate the concept of talent; I really think it’s a pernicious notion. It encourages people to give up on their passion, because they believe that they don’t have a talent for it. I don’t think I have any talent for writing or singing, I’m just passionate about them both. Bill Evans used to say he “wasn’t a natural”, and yet, he became one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.

PGTC: “The Script” and “Ballerina” deal with a relationship with a female and a reunion with her, though there’s some closure given what you detail preceding the latter. Why did you feel it was important to write about it? Was it cathartic? Do you think there will be any sort of follow-up?
York: Yeah, it was cathartic, but it was also about truth telling. I think that’s an amazing thing with a song: you can say things that are too difficult to say in conversation. With “Ballerina”, for example, I never found a way to tell this girl how I saw her while we were together. Our daily lives were happy and functional, but I could feel a deep unacknowledged turmoil. A song is a unique space in which you can articulate the undercurrents in a situation. I don’t know if there will be a follow-up, but that’s the thing I love about this current project. I’m releasing songs immediately, almost as soon as they’re written, before they’ve been carefully manicured in a recording studio. I don’t know if I will ever hear from her again, and if I do, I don’t know what will happen!

PGTC: Since you’ve been writing and singing about scripts lately, just curious, do you have a favorite song by the band The Script?
York: Haha! “For The First Time” is a great song. Production is excellent, as is the lyrical concept: it has so much truth in it.

PGTC: 2014 is just around the corner. What’s ahead for you in the new year?
York: 2014 is all about live! I’m currently planning concerts early in the year. I’m veeeery particular about playing live and I want to make sure the audience gets a great experience. I’ll release the details soon. Oh… and I’ll be writing more songs!

Thanks again to Sam York for his great responses and, of course, his wonderful music. Visit the link below to check out everything he’s put up thus far and stay tuned to his official website see what kind of new features are forthcoming in this exciting project.

“The Script”:

Visit Sam York‘s SoundCloud page for a free download of “The Script”, his demos and more.

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An Early Hanukkah Gift: From “Royals” To “Oils”

She's not yet lost all her gelt.

She’s not yet lost all her gelt.

Like to get festive just a little bit early? I offer you this. Hanukkah may still be a little ways away (two weeks from today), but I thought I would throw my hat into the ring and offer up some lyrics that you can sing along to for the big day. After all, it’s a time to be joyous and celebrate and maybe discover a parody or two online in the meantime. So, here I am celebrating at the expense of 17-year-old Lorde‘s massive #1 single that’s still topping the charts and might be purchased with some lucky gift cards during this season. I hope you enjoy my little tune (and don’t eat too many potato latkes – your stomach will pay for it the next day.)

Have a great Hanukkah,

(P.S. If you’re liking it, let me know below or on social media, and I’ll be sure keep the fun continuing on the blog during this holiday season.)

A parody of Lorde’s “Royals”
From the (fictitious) album Pure Hanukkah

[Verse 1]
I’ve never spun a dreidel painted fresh
I cut my lip on chocolate gelt from the wrapper
But they’re so proud of how I blessed
At the menorah, then we play after

And every game’s like
Roll shin, don’t win, put another coin back
Next play, roll hey, now I’m picking up half
I don’t share, we’re drinking Manischewitz ‘til it’s clean
And then the game goes
Nun’s up, no luck, get it on the next shot
What skill, gimel, now you’ve won the whole pot
I don’t share
Now, here’s the story of our answered prayers

We don’t have enough oils (oi-ls)
To run the length of Hanukkah
Yeah, that supply will never stay
We need the stuff that runs eight days
Reading ‘bout how the Jews were (Jews were)
You can call them Maccabees
Miracles come true (come true, come true, come true)
Let me live that history

[Verse 2]
We stuff our mouths with sufganiyot
Say “Chag Sameach” in the car to our Grandma’s
And in the window, candles glow
Unwrapping gifts, no time for Santa

And back to dreidel like
Roll shin, don’t win, put another coin back
Next play, roll hey, now I’m picking up half
I don’t share, we’re drinking Manischewitz ‘til it’s clean
And then the game goes
Nun’s up, no luck, get it on the next shot
What skill, gimel, now you’ve won the whole pot
I don’t share
Now, here’s the story of our answered prayers

We don’t have enough oils (oi-ls)
To run the length of Hanukkah
Yeah, that supply will never stay
We need the stuff that runs eight days
Reading ‘bout how the Jews were (Jews were)
You can call them Maccabees
Miracles come true (come true, come true, come true)
Let me live that history

[Middle 8]
Oh, oh, oh-oh
My latkes are the dish supreme
So pass around the sour cream
Oh, oh, oh-oh
And applesauce, the perfect pair
The Festival of Lights is in the air

We don’t have enough oils (oi-ls)
To run the length of Hanukkah
Yeah, that supply will never stay
We need the stuff that runs eight days
Reading ‘bout how the Jews were (Jews were)
You can call them Maccabees
Miracles come true (come true, come true, come true)
Let me live that history

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